Airbnb did not hesitate to cancel a reservation made by a so-called member of the neo-fascist, far-right group Proud Boys. Asserting their vow to not associate with members of hate groups the alleged member was banned completely from the platform.
What We Know:
- As Trump continues to push voter fraud claims, many of his supporters join him in protest. This past Saturday, thousands of Trump supporters gathered near Freedom Plaza-east of the White House-for the “Million Maga March” and “Stop the Steal” rallies.
- A thread from a Telegram groupchat ran by Proud Boys was posted to Twitter ahead of the protests. The screenshot showed a man, Ronald Gaudier, inviting others to an Airbnb rental he obtained within walking distance of the rally. He invited anyone needing a place to stay to message him if interested. The post was retweeted several time calling out Airbnb. One user wrote, “Hey @Airbnb what are your thoughts on members of white supremacist hate groups like the ‘Proud Boys’ using your platform?” Another asked if Airbnb supported “far right extremists and Proud Boys using your platform for the Million MAGA March”.
- Airbnb promptly responded to the wave of concern letting users know they appreciated that it was brought to their attention. The company went on to say, “anyone affiliated with hate groups has no place on Airbnb. We’ve identified the reservation, cancelled it, and banned the user from our platform”. The Southern Poverty Law center labeled Proud Boys as a general hate group regularly spouting white nationalist memes and often associated with extremist. They also noted their anti-Muslim agenda and misogynistic rhetoric.
- The freshly banned member returned to Telegram complaining Airbnb’s decision to blacklist him from the website. He claimed he is not in fact a Proud Boy even though he was chatting among them. He wrote, “It turns out I was somehow outed to AirBnB and they canceled not only my reservation but my membership because they ‘won’t support members of hate groups.’ Funny thing is I’M NOT A PROUD BOY nor do I intend to ever be one!” Gaudier attempted to “make clear” that he has no desire to be apart of the alt-right group. He says he was in the vetting room, a forum used to analyze the records of Trumps judicial nominations, and when he realized the company he was in it gave him pause. However, he 100% supports freedom of speech and believed his ban was a “badge of honor”.
- Whether or not Gaudier was actually a Proud Boy was not important to Airbnb. They stated his association was enough for the company to take action. Airbnb’s Community Standards asserts: “Members of dangerous organizations, including terrorist, organized criminal, and violent racist groups, are not welcome in this community.” They did make certain that regular people attending pro-Trump rallies do not have to fear canceled reservations or getting banned.
The protest began peaceful but later was faced with violence as Trump supporters clashed with counter-protesters. Trump’s motorcade briefly passed through the rally catching wind of the erupted chaos. He took to Twitter blaming the violence on “antifa scum” urging police to not hold back and do their job.
Schools Are Disciplining Kids With Virtual Classes, Advocates Say That Could Violate Their Rights
Advocates are calling these actions the “new face of denial of access to public education”.
What We Know:
- A six-year-old named Raynardo Antonio Ocasio has been banned from his classroom since September. Raynardo was banned from in-person learning for failing to wear a mask. The school, Zeta Charter School in Manhattan, has stated that pushing Raynardo out was necessary to keep teachers and students safe during the pandemic. Administrators and other schools across the country made similar decisions during the reopening process.
- Raynardo has a speech and language impairment that makes it challenging for him to comply with instructions. He had difficulty expressing himself while wearing a mask. A psychologist was brought to the school in order to support Raynardo, but after numerous efforts, his school decided to send him home for virtual classes. The decision to send Raynardo home wasn’t intended to be permanent.
- Student advocates in six states informed NBC News that they’re working with students impacted by these actions. Critics argue that removing students because of their behavior is a violation of students’ rights. Federal law requires public schools to provide all students with the support they need to succeed. This could entail bringing in a counselor or working with parents to improve a child’s behavior.
- Advocates argue that the students they’ve seen removed from in-person classes are the same ones who’ve traditionally been more likely to be removed from class. These kinds of students include children with disabilities, those with a hard time following some rules, and Black or Latino children who are more likely to be punished for their behavior than their white classmates. Those students were already more likely to struggle in school than their peers according to civil rights and educational justice advocate, Lorraine Wright.
Raynardo has been attending school virtually for more than seven months and advocates say what happened amounts to an informal removal.
Minnesota AG Keith Ellison Requests Aggravated Sentence for Chauvin
The state’s attorney general has requested the former Minneapolis police officer receive a harsher sentence for his role in the death of George Floyd.
What We Know:
- According to a legal brief filed on Friday, Attorney General Keith Ellison asked Hennepin County Judge to hand Chauvin a harsher sentence. Ellison based his request on “five aggravating factors” that justify a longer sentence.
- The brief states that Floyd was a “vulnerable victim” and “treated with particular cruelty.” The filing states that Floyd was already restrained on the ground when most of Chauvin’s actions took place and that he ignored Floyd’s calls for help as he could not breathe. Ellison went on to say, “[the] Defendant’s actions inflicted gratuitous pain, and caused psychological distress to Mr. Floyd and to the bystanders.”
- In addition, the brief states Chauvin “abused his position of authority” by violating the “sanctity of life” and public responsibility standards that police officers are held to. The final two factors Ellison says, are that Chauvin committed the crime as part of a group of officers and in the presence of children.
- Chauvin was charged with second and third-degree murder along with second-degree manslaughter. On April 20th, the former officer was found guilty on all charges after a deliberation process that lasted several weeks. However, due to Minnesota state law, Chauvin will only be sentenced according to the most serious charge–second-degree murder.
The death of George Floyd last year sparked nationwide protests that lasted for several months. Chauvin’s sentencing hearing has been scheduled for June 25th.
National Pharmacy Chains Have Wasted Hundreds of Thousands of Covid Vaccine Doses
Two nationwide pharmacy chains trusted with handling vaccinations are largely responsible for the majority of wasted doses.
What We Know:
- According to the CDC, there were 182,874 wasted doses of the covid vaccine as of late March. The pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens are responsible for 128,500 wasted shots. According to Kaiser Health News, CVS accounted for nearly half of those, with Walgreens representing 21%.
- The CDC data indicates that the two companies wasted more shots of the vaccine than all of the states, territories, and federal agencies combined. The data, however, does not indicate how the pharmacies were able to waste so many of the vaccine doses. Many critics cited the disorganized rollout of the vaccine as the primary factor contributing to the waste.
- The Trump administration heavily leaned on the two pharmacies to vaccinate those long-term care facilities during the early phase. A CVS representative stated “nearly all” of its wasted vials came during this period.
- The report found that freezer malfunctions were the most common source of wasted vials. The Pfizer was the first to be distributed in December. The vaccine initially required that it be kept in ultra-cold storage, making it difficult to transport and store properly. The report found that the Pfizer vaccine made up 60% of all lost doses.
- In a statement, CDC spokesperson Kate Fowlie said, “though every effort is made to reduce the volume of wastage in a vaccination program, sometimes it’s necessary to identify doses as ‘waste’ to ensure anyone wanting a vaccine can receive it, as well as to ensure patient safety and vaccine effectiveness.”
According to the CDC, nearly 250 million doses of the covid vaccine have been administered. Over 100 million Americans have been fully vaccinated so far, which amounts to about 32% of the population.